In 2019, he led Trump’s first successful impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over allegations that Trump had requested the Ukrainian government investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in exchange for foreign aid.
Although the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, and did so again in 2021 for incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Senate acquitted him both times.
Schiff wrote about his experiences in a new book, Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could, and recounted the highlights in a 45-minute Q&A session led by former Rep. Mel Levine, D-Los Angeles.
RSVPs for the event were so numerous that Chaucer’s was unable to accommodate the crowd at its Loreto Plaza store, at 3321 State St. Instead, the gathering was moved to Crush Bar & Tap, off the courtyard of the stately San Marcos Building at 1129 State St. downtown.
“While it was a great honor to host Congressman Schiff, it was an especially big thrill in how community members stepped up to make this event possible,” Michael Takeuchi, Chaucer’s events coordinator, told Noozhawk.
He credited filmmaker Mahil Senathirajah, who put him in touch with Santa Barbara County Democratic Party chairwoman Darcél Elliott, who “matched us with Shannon Gaston and the crew at Crush Bar & Tap.”
Judy Foreman with her new page-turner. (Eric Isaacs / EMI Photography photo)
Geoff Green, CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, welcomed the attendees to the event, where Schiff also signed copies of his book.
Schiff’s up-close and personal discussion about Republican insiders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield; and Reps. Devin Nunes of Visalia, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was interesting and informative.
It helped those in attendance better understand the deep partisan and ideological differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, and the rise of xenophobic populism and extremism highlighted by the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol.
Finally reopening for in-store events after nearly two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Chaucer’s is hosting Mary Tonetti Dorra on Nov. 8 and Susan Orlean on Nov. 17 to help mark the locally owned independent book store’s 48th anniversary.
— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.